The mantra with sound methods at present appears to be that they need to be heard, not seen. If you’re a vinyl fanatic, downsizing a turntable setup isn’t so easy. Minimalist turntable setups are sometimes comprised of a pair of bookshelf audio system and an built-in amplifier. And, let’s not overlook the vibrational havoc audio system can pose to your valuable and delicate setup.
If you’re on the lookout for a really compact and close to vibration-free expertise in your report participant, then look no additional than Andover Audio’s Spinbase. It’s an ingenious, all-in-one, plug-n-play speaker system designed particularly for turntables. It’s a close to good answer for condominium dwellers or rooms that may’t accommodate bigger methods. While actually not with out its quirks, The Spinbase’s simplicity, efficiency, and sheer bang for the buck left me awe-struck. Read on to see why I favored the Spinbase a lot.
This assessment is a part of TechHive’s protection of the best Bluetooth speakers, the place you’ll discover opinions of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you need to contemplate when procuring.
What is the Spinbase?
At first look, you may confuse the Spinbase for one thing else. Its 18 x 3.25 x 13.5-inch dimensions (WxHxD) make it an ideal match for nearly any turntable. The informal passerby may assume that the Spinbase is a turntable platform or run-of-the-mill audio element.
Take a better look and also you’ll shortly see that the Spinbase is 4 merchandise in a single: A powered speaker system, phono preamp, headphone amp, and Bluetooth streamer in a single compact enclosure.
The Spinbase has a single quantity knob on its minimalist entrance panel. Turn the quantity knob clockwise to activate the unit. The knob sits on high of a metallic speaker grille that flanks the unit’s entrance and sides. Apart from having a Class D amplifier, the Spinbase is in any other case an analog throwback—there’s no distant management. Adjusting the quantity is guide endeavor.
That amplifier powers two woofers and two tweeters. Andover Audio says the Spinbase’s driver association produces an expansive 270-degree stereo picture. I’m sometimes skeptical of promoting claims, however wanting pulling out my protractor, I used to be merely awe-struck by the breadth of the Spinbase’s soundstage. Unlike a typical two-channel speaker setup that offers you a single candy spot, I may stroll from one facet of the Spinbase and round to the opposite with nearly no audible off-axis penalty. The speaker’s sound was clean and constant from one facet to the opposite.
The Spinbase’s output will simply fill small, medium, and even bigger rooms—difficult or outperforming audio system at twice Andover’s $300 asking worth.
Designed for each ceramic and shifting magnet cartridges, the Spinbase is out-of-the-box appropriate with most turntables, and its rear panel is clearly labeled as the place to attach ceramic or magnetic cartridges.
If you have got a second supply gadget, comparable to a CD participant or a community audio streamer, you possibly can theoretically join that to the Spinbase by way of the RCA line-level inputs on the unit’s rear panel (assuming you don’t have a turntable with a ceramic cartridge that might depend on these jacks). The speaker has no enter selector, so in the event you’re connecting a turntable with a magnetic cartridge—or any turntable that has a built-in pre-amp—you’ll have to set the Spinbase’s ceramic-cartridge change to the “off” place. Andover’s printed quick-start sheet, by the best way, wants a redo.
Trouble in headphone land
You’ll discover a 3.5mm headphone jack on the again of the speaker, however headphone output was an actual low level for me. First off, I want Andover Audio had put the headphone jack on the entrance of the unit, like nearly each different audio element on the planet. I’m certain there was some engineering cause for it, however the placement on the again of the unit is simply impractical. Secondly, the jack needs to be a typical 1/4-inch headphone jack, versus the 3.5mm jack that’s there.
But to make issues worse, you’d higher not have your headphones plugged in if you flip the Spinbase on or off. I did, sadly, and obtained a double whammy because the system delivered a loud and nasty “pop!” once I turned it on after which off. It was sufficient to go away my ears ringing.
The Spinbase had no drawback driving my Focal Clear headphones. In truth, the quantity obtained actually, actually loud with out even reaching the 9 o’clock mark on the dial. I didn’t dare attempt utilizing easier-to-drive in-ear-monitors or earbuds. Plugging in your headphones and kicking again to vinyl is a really good concept in concept, however I want Andover Audio did a greater job with its implementation—together with defending the listening to of the consumers.
Bluetooth assist, too
You can stream your favourite tunes to the Spinbase wirelessly, too, because of its assist for Bluetooth 5.0. Andover Audio must do a greater job for non-technical and novice customers, nevertheless; the Bluetooth part within the Spinbase’s quick-setup information is actually two sentences lengthy, and there’s nothing within the directions to inform you methods to clear earlier pairings if you wish to change Bluetooth sources.
Bluetooth efficiency was OK in my atmosphere, however I discovered the Bluetooth implementation fully maddening. First of all, at excessive volumes, Bluetooth streaming had a really excessive noise flooring. Secondly, if you don’t plug within the included shorting plugs into the magnetic phono RCA inputs, you get horrible digital noise by means of the speaker at even average volumes. Andover Audio makes a short point out of this on the again of its quick-start information, however not within the Bluetooth part. In my setup, I wanted to unplug my turntable and plug within the RCA shorting caps simply to stream Bluetooth with out noise artifacts. When I used to be completed, I needed to unplug the caps and re-connect my turntable. If I had been to buy a Spinbase, I’d most likely use it for my vinyl solely and forego its different options.
While the vinyl-specific elements of the Spinbase get excessive marks, the headphone and Bluetooth parts have some fairly maddening drawbacks
An in any other case nice efficiency
Unboxing and establishing the Spinbase was a bit of cake. The solely setup wanted was to plug the Spinbase into my turntable. Andover Audio features a brief pair of analog interconnects with an built-in grounding cable—a pleasant contact.
The Spinbase’s vibration-free efficiency lived as much as its billing. I didn’t discover any vibrations throughout my testing. Having the Spinbase straight underneath my turntable didn’t intervene with my vinyl playback within the least. In truth, even placing my hand straight on the spinbase revealed solely the slightest resonance coming by means of the cupboard—actually not more than you’d expertise with a typical bookshelf setup.
I’ve already mentioned the Spinbase’s stereo efficiency, however enable me to say once more: The super-wide sound stage is completely great.
An important system—however not with out its quirks
Andover Audio’s Spinbase serves as an all-in-one, minimalist answer that can enchantment to many. The Spinbase’s large soundstage, stable sound, and close to vibration-free efficiency will seduce many. It actually did me.
The Spinbase’s headphone and Bluetooth streaming options, then again, are underwhelming at greatest, and so they price the Spinbase’s ranking a full star. But in the event you’re an analog junkie on the lookout for a streamlined, all-in-one speaker answer in your turntable, you completely ought to give the Spinbase a severe pay attention.